Copyright © 2003 Henrietta W. Hay
Women in Colorado
January 17, 2003
Nearly 200 community leaders, mostly women but including a fair
sprinkling of brave men managed to climb out of bed, get dressed for
work and make it to Mesa College by 7:30 am last week to hear a report
on the status of women in our state from the Women's Foundation of
Founded on the belief that women's success is essential to the success
of the community, the Women's Foundation of Colorado promotes the full
participation of women and girls in society. "We are the mother of all
funds for women and girls in Colorado. We are challenging the past. We
are informing the present. We WILL change the future."
The Women's Foundation is dedicated to the economic progress of women
and girls throughout Colorado. It was founded in 1987 and has invested
more than $5.5 million and worked with more than 170 agencies in 70
communities to remove barriers and increase economic opportunities for
women and girls.
Marla Williams, President and C. E. O reported that the Foundation in
cooperation with the Institute for Women's Policy Research had done a
study of the current status of women nationally, and she spoke in detail
on the economic status of women in Colorado. Colorado ranks fifth
nationally as one of the best places for women. But the bad news is
that in the end, the results show that there is still lots of work to be
Despite improvements in women's status nationally and a strong
performance in Colorado, women have not achieved equality with men in
any state. Compared with the ideal of equality, Colorado's highest
grades are B's.
What do we know about the our daughters, and their future opportunities
to be scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians, leaders? There
is good news and bad news.
Colorado girls are generally healthier than girls in other states. They
live in a state hospitable to an active lifestyle, and are more likely
than their counterparts to participate in physical education.
The Colorado Student Assessment Program results show that girls
consistently meet state standards in all content areas, including math
and science - at a higher rate than boys through the 7th grade. They
take nearly the same number of math and science classes. Their SAT
scores are practically identical to the boys' scores. 83% of them
graduate from High School.
The teen pregnancy rate in Colorado has decreased in the past 10 years.
Today's girls have their own definition of leadership and it rests less
with power and more with solid people skills. Girls are as likely as
boys to assume leadership roles in their schools.
On the other hand, Colorado girls, as well as boys, engage in practices
that jeopardize their well being, smoking, drinking, and illegal drugs.
They have one of the country's highest rates of low birth weight
babies. Less than half of teen mothers have completed high school.
Girls accounted for a third of arrests of individuals under 18.
Colorado women make up 40% of the work force, but the wage gap is still
there. Women earn 75.3 cents per every dollar earned by men, and rank
16th in the country in that area. 34% of women who are single heads of
households live below the poverty level.
But Colorado ranks second in the nation on an index measuring economic
autonomy. Colorado places fourth in rankings for women's educational
achievement. Colorado places third in business ownership by women.
Compared to the national average of 17.6%, 23.5% of Colorado women have
completed four years or more of college.
Women and girls have made a great deal of progress in Colorado in recent
decades. They are better educated, more active in the work force and
have made some strides in narrowing the wage gap. But they still face
substantial and persistent obstacles to attaining economic self
sufficiency. The glass ceiling is still up there.
So there is good news and bad news. What is enough? Enough is when
somebody says, "Get me the best people you can find for this job," and
nobody notices when half of them turn out to be women.